Oma Sue's Blog
Hi – I’m Sue Reyzlik. I recently realized my life-long dream of building a writing hut in the backyard. The writing hut serves as a creative space and home office for Oma Publishing. This blog will be intermingled with family history, varied experiences and insights on being a Grandma (Oma), creating my special backyard space, as well as, my “retirement” career as a self-publisher of children’s stories. And perhaps a little bit on the 32 years I served as Executive Director for Keep Fremont Beautiful and the wonderful people who are sharing this adventure.
Happily, I was invited to a get together at a friend’s cabin on the Platte River and was able to see some of the devastation from the March floods. It was equally fascinating to see the repairs taken to stem the flow of the river through the Fremont lakes – the flow that created such destruction for homes in the southern section of our City.
It is my understanding that the river reclaimed it’s channel from the 1940’s, taking out the road that provided access to the cabins. The downed trees and the enlarged lake areas surrounding the breach was certainly awe inspiring and a testament to the force of the raging river. The fact that the cabins remained standing was awe inspiring as well, although the structures were tucked away from where the river ultimately wished to run.
items but most of their outside belongings were found swept into the trees and brush surrounding their cabin and easily removed. One chair remains missing.
At the time of the writing of the second book, I recalled the yearly flooding that we experienced at our cabin on the Platte River in the 1950’s and 60’s. (I often wondered why we didn’t have cushions on some of our wicker furniture – I’m sure they were ruined early on and never replaced. We didn’t spend too much time in the cabin anyway – we were always playing outdoors and most likely in the river.)
Anyway, anything that wasn’t stored properly was swept away and that is what I imagined happened to the three frogs. They traveled for hours until they got stuck in a tangle of debris. A new adventure begins in an unfamiliar area.
The second book has a similar look as the first but is a bit different. I illustrated the second book and had a more complete idea of what I wanted. The first book was an exercise in learning, the second book was easier to put together and hopefully the third will be even less difficult.
By the way, the third book is written and at the editor. I haven’t foretold any natural disasters although there is a warning on the dangers of littering. I will begin illustrating the third book within the month. It should be available before Christmas.
Now back to the flooding. So much of the region is suffering from the effects of the flooding – while some areas are still under water. The suffering continues.
I visited with a City official at the get together this past week and heard stories of what had been found in the flood waters. Barrels of contaminants had been swept away. From where exactly, remains a mystery. Containers of illegal substances have also been found. Those containers and the contents needing special disposal. The clean up is overwhelming and in some cases complicated and dangerous.
It seemed eerily strange to me to see entire areas swept clean of original landmarks while other areas remained nearly completely intact. The vegetation lush and green here and moon scape barren there. The deposits of sand and silt giving it another worldly feel.
We talked further of the homes lost to the flooding and where would people rebuild. That is a problem – available space in our community is limited and moving back into the flooding areas will not be allowed. It is a dilemma. No easy solution exists for the problem the flooding has created.
A flashback… My daughter Ramie ventured into the wooded area of Big Island, a few years ago, to take a picture of the 1950’s family cabin. The cabin had fallen into disrepair with a large tree resting on the roof. You can see the outhouse to the right. The cabin was eventually torn down and replaced with a structure on stilts. The newer structure seems to have survived the flood at a greater height, as had my friend’s cabin.
Today Sara chose to celebrate her birthday at the Lincoln Zoo. The Zoo has undergone a recent refurbishing with a new entrance and larger parking area. Our little group was impressed with the improvements.
I have a good friend. We met on my birthday in January of 2012. Ramie and I attended a Craig Ferguson show at the Orpheum in Omaha and we sat next to this lovely couple from Grand Island. Jane and I started chatting before the show and we instantly became friends.
She knew my other friend from Grand Island and we all agreed – it’s a small world. My back was itchy and she showed me this folding back scratcher that she kept safely tucked away in her purse. She had bought it at Ace Hardware. If I couldn’t find my own, she would send me one.
Our little foursome enjoyed the show, but Jane and I really, and I mean really, thought Craig was just the cutest. Jane had heard that Craig often visited with fans outside the venues after the show. We agreed to meet at the rear of the theater and stalk him.
It was January and it was cold, so we parked next to each other near his bus, visiting through cracked windows and waited for him to show himself. No Craig. Oh well – we exchanged phone numbers and emails and went our separate ways. We had only just met – but there is something about stalking a celebrity that makes you instant life-long friends – and that whole back scratcher thing.
A few years back, I was at a low time in my life and she drove to Fremont and sat with me for several hours and let me vent. Jane was the friend I needed at the time and I will always love her for the effort she made to help me get myself together.
We are friends who don’t see each other often. We keep in contact via texting, phone calls, emailing and Facebook. I was always going to go to Grand Island to visit her but she told me to wait until her kitchen remodeling was complete. I finally made the trip to Grand Island yesterday. Her kitchen is lovely. I was so happy to see it all finished. It was finished in 2015. I’ve been busy.
There was another reason for going to Grand Island, besides seeing the finished kitchen… I signed up to work a shift at the Nebraska Writer’s Guild during the Nebraska State Fair. I haven’t been to the State Fair in Grand Island so I wanted to check it out before August.
Jane took me on a tour of some of her favorite spots. I saw things that I wouldn’t normally see if I hadn’t had Jane as my tour guide. I had to stop and take some pictures of the flying circus – that is something you don’t see every day! And another one at the Humane Society – with Snoopy and Garfield!
The shop where Jane works a few hours a week as the bookkeeper is WOW. One of the owners graduated from Midland with a degree in Art Education – I graduated from the same place with the same degree, like 6 years before her, but how weird is that! AND there was even a flamingo hiding up near the rafters by the art department and lots of repurposed art projects – these people are my tribe!
So anyway – back to Jane… I loved seeing Jane’s garden and home. Jane and her husband Tom have created a beautiful residential setting. If they lived in Fremont, I would nominate them for a Certificate of Appreciation. I would also nominate her neighbor – her garden and home are lovely. They were perfect – made me want to go home and pull some weeds!
Jane and Tom also have a special little friend “Sweetie”. I am not real sure of the details… but Sweetie is a squirrel who showed up a few years back and was somehow trying to steal bird seed from a feeder. Either someone or something startled the squirrel and she jumped, catching her foot in the feeder. The squirrel freed herself but walked around for several days with the foot dangling by her side. Eventually the foot fell off and the squirrel healed – which is kind of amazing. Sweetie has remained a fixture in their yard – waiting patiently for either Jane or Tom to appear and feed her by hand.
The other squirrels are not kind to Sweetie. It is heartbreaking. Sweetie is disabled but luckily, she has a couple of best human friends who make sure she has proper nutrition and a fairly safe environment in which to thrive.
Being a good friend comes naturally to Jane and Tom. Jane busied herself upon my arrival making good use of her fairly new kitchen. She washed, cut and chopped while we visited. We ate salad and fresh fruit for lunch and Tom took us out to dinner before I had to head home. Sweetie and I are lucky to have found such caring friends – who like to feed us!
After I left, Jane sent me a text. A duck had come calling on their deck. No doubt looking to be fed. The duck didn’t stay long as her boyfriend showed up, and off they went.
Disabled Squirrels and unconditional love… a duck couple dropping by to dine… a quirky flying circus… It was a wonderful day with my wonderful friend. Thank you, Jane and Tom for your hospitality and creative inspiration. I am so glad we chose to be friends on that cold January night!
In the last blog entry, I said I would post a bit more on Rai’s dance recital and I do have some more pictures to share, as well. First of all, Rai did an excellent job. She smiled brightly and thankfully remembered all the dance steps – it was a delight to watch.
Of course, I had to attend the Friday and Saturday night’s performances and I thoroughly enjoyed both! This year marked the 40thAnniversary of the Kathy Lackey Dance Studio and the evening highlighted numbers and costumes from past performances. It was nice that my daughters (Sara and Ramie) had a chance to reminisce about their experiences and recital numbers from years ago.
Kathy had a challenge this year in that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent surgery, completed her treatment, all while continuing her teaching duties and planning a truly wonderful recital.
After the seniors had finished their final performance, Kathy came on stage and made a few comments about each young woman. It was touching and heart felt. When she was done, the girls shared their thoughts and feelings on what Kathy had meant to them. Again - touching, funny, loving and delightful. Each recital is exciting and special but this recital was awesome!